There is some cross-training going on at Lions minicamp practices this week for veteran edge rushers Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara. On Wednesday, the pair spent a portion of a 7-on-7 period with the defense playing outside linebacker, dropping back in coverage and working in the passing game in space. Then about halfway through the period, the pair headed back to the defensive line group to go through individual drills.
There's an expectation that Flowers, Okwara, Julian Okwara and some of the other edge players will have a much more versatile role in Aaron Glenn's new 3-4 base defense.
Glenn said he's excited about what that versatility and positional flexibility could mean for his defense.
"I think this game is actually transitioning to having more speed on the field," Glenn said. "When you look at those two guys (Romeo Okwara and Flowers), I think with their skill set, giving those guys a chance to play on the edge, I think it helps those guys.
"The thing I think that's underestimated about both those guys, their ability to be able to play in space. I think they have the ability to be able to do that."
It's something Flowers admits has been a little foreign to him. There's been a bit of a feeling-out process this offseason. There are a lot of moving parts in the passing game, and Flowers has been trying to focus on his keys and simplify that part of the game. But he's enjoyed learning something new and getting out of his comfort zone.
Glenn also knows players like Flowers and Romeo Okwara, who led Detroit with 10 sacks last year, are at their best when they're playing the role of disruptor upfront and getting after the quarterback. Glenn is simply trying to find more ways for them to be effective in that capacity.
View photos from first day of Lions minicamp on Tuesday, June 8th.
"I'm excited for the different schemes that I can be able to create with the guys that we have," Glenn said. "We have size, we have speed, we have length. So you could use that in a number of different directions. We can be in base and get to a personnel package that you guys will see at some point."
It's a whole new look for Detroit's defense under Glenn with the 3-4 base and a split-safety look. Glenn's still trying to figure out who can do what and who fits where, and just how versatile he can be with his packages, alignments and play calls.
"That's why I'm working now to be prepared to drop back when I have to and when the play is called," Flowers said. "When you got your hand in the dirt, you got one focus. That's the easy part and what I'm used to."